Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ    Attic   

Re: Stress and vowel length in Tirelat

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <melroch@...>
Date:Saturday, August 16, 2008, 16:48
In Swedish vowel length, stress and syllable coda weight are bound up
with each other in complicated ways. The only things everyone is
agreeing on seem to be that stress placement is distinctive and that
fully unstressed vowels can't be long. In particular it is
controversial whether vowel length is distinctive or a function of
stress and syllable structure. I'm nowadays tending to believe that
dialects and idiolects differ in this regard. For myself vowel length
is clearly automatic, and I have trouble coping with distinctive vowel
length in other languages. Thus my immediate thought was that Tirelat
vowel length is a function of distinctive stress, but that certain
coda types attract stress and/or cause length, and thus I'd write
[ma'ra:t] as _marát_, and in general mark irregular stress and/or
length with an acute. However the thought hit me that apparent long
vowels might be sequences of vowel + semivowel and/or vowel + /h/,
supposing a sequence [h] > [h\] > [:], or vowel + /h\/, /?\/ or /?/ if
there are (or were) such phonemes. Note that voiced laryngeal or
pharyngeal fricatives would be stress attractors according to the
rules you gave. Does the language have a /?/ phoneme already? It has
been suggested that French h aspiré and e muet are in fact a single
phonemes with the contextual and stylistic allophones [?], [@] and

2008/8/16, Herman Miller <hmiller@...>:
> I figured out a way to get the stress on the last syllable of "Beijing" > in Tirelat: give the word 3 syllables. > > Beiżiñ /be.i.'dziŋ/ > > Not entirely unprecedented; I have "Zaiirvor" /za.'i:r.vOr/ "Democratic > Republic of the Congo" for instance. But two vowels coming together like > that is distinctly uncommon in Tirelat. > > In any case, I've been going back and examining stress and vowel length > in Tirelat, one of the things that never had much of a satisfactory > resolution. Currently, vowel length is represented in the writing > system, although it's hard to find actual phonemic contrasts in the > native vocabulary. One of the most likely examples, _marat_ "window" vs. > _maraat_ "basket", could alternatively be treated as a distinction in > stress: _márat_ vs. _marát_. There are lots of words with a single long > vowel (_ugoołku_ "chameleon", _mutaa_ "no one", _šuuru_ "door"), which > is always stressed, but no words with more than one long vowel (e.g., > *laalii, *oomii). > > Besides long vowels, diphthongs and closed syllables ending in a voiced > consonant also attract stress. E.g. ši'kaĭ "here", mi'zoĭ "finally", > ġa'zar "deer", sa'nov "transitive verb". All of these could be grouped > as "heavy" syllables. So are there any non-compound, native Tirelat > words with more than one heavy syllable? Very few: _ñurmul_ "thunder" > and _žaglam_ "vulture" are well established, but _ñurmul_ is clearly an > onomatopoeia. There are also words like _terima_ "musical keyboard", > _pereki_ "simultaneous", _neladak_ "agama lizard", and _vurupa_ > "tomato", without any heavy syllables, which are stressed on the first > syllable. > > So: with few exceptions, at most one syllable in a Tirelat word is > heavy, and in the few cases where a word contains more than one heavy > syllable, the stress falls on the first one. I still haven't found any > clear cases of vowel length being distinctive. >
-- / BP


Herman Miller <hmiller@...>